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Half-eaten cecropia moth.
...or be eaten world.

Found this poor guy down by our pond. Not sure what ate its body and part of its wing, but it won't last much longer. That's nature -- both beautiful and brutal.
 
 
The kids found a Killdeer out in the equipment yard.
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Can you find her?
Here she is, trying to convince me that she has a broken wing and trying to lure me (and the cat) away from her ground nest.
And meanwhile, her unguarded eggs are nearly as camouflaged as she is!
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See 'em?
What an awesome way to see nature close up and explain it to the kids!
 
 
I planted some wheat seeds to have grass in time for Easter this Sunday. I'll try and keep it posted as to how it's coming. I had to adjust plans and now I just hope to have a nice grassy backdrop for some daisy decorations (yet to be determined). I planted the seeds late Saturday evening. Today I noticed the first teeny sprouts.
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DAY THREE (TUESDAY)
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DAY FOUR (WEDNESDAY)
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DAY FIVE (THURSDAY)
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DAY SIX (FRIDAY)
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DAY EIGHT (SUNDAY, EASTER MORNING)
My mom said she could whip me up a dozen little ribbon butterflies to be buzzing on wires above the grass. They ended up being much bigger than I anticipated, but they still looked Easter-y, so I made 'em work. I had a few guests comment that they didn't realize it was real grass. They also guessed that I sprayed it with water, but the dew (you can see in the photos) is actually produced naturally from the wheat grass and is there all day. Now that it's day 11 or so, I really need to get out a scissors and mow it down a tad.
As you can see, if you can be patient for 7-10 days, you can grow a lovely little field of dreams for yourself.
 
 
I pulled a laundry basket full of maternity clothes out of storage today. Before you get all excited, it was to go through them for my sister who just announced that they are expecting their second child this fall. I knew I had some of her stuff and some additional stuff that might fit, so I dragged it out.

The clothes were packed in tight, but as I lifted shirt after shirt and opened up layer after layer, suddenly something caught my eye: bright yellow field corn! There was a nice size pile of a few dozen dried up kernels sitting in a little airspace between shirts.

I had the kids throw it outside before I thought to take a picture of it.

So the question now is: What animal stores field corn like that?? My theory is squirrel, just because they tend to store all sorts of foods in little bunches for winter (and then often forget where they stored them). But how did a squirrel get into my house and, better yet, how did it get back out? Neil thinks it was a mouse. I didn't know mice stored food and usually they like to chew up clothes to make little nests, but maybe it made a nest somewhere else.

I'm just throwing out guesses here. Any ideas?
 
 
The kids and I took a tour around the pond last week. In 2011, the spring was so wet and the summer so accommodating that there was water in the pond all season. Some years it's just a damp patch where the nearby corn fields drain.

I hope this year is like last year. Neil and I have been toying with the idea of getting a mini backhoe out there to excavate it deep enough to hold water year round. The pond is central to my landscaping. I can't landscape around my house yet because it will get trampled and destroyed with the upcoming remodeling. So instead, I'm focusing my attention on the back 40.

As the kids and I walked around (and through) the pond area, I noticed some cream-colored nautilus shapes against the black soil. Upon pointing it out to the kids, they exclaimed, "Seashells!" I continued to refer to them as pond snail shells, but apparently my use of the correct term did not deter them from their romantic notions of life in the sea.

They collected handfuls of them and brought them back to the house. Their next rainy-day project is to paint them. I'm not sure what happens to them after that, but I know I will find out soon enough.
 
 
...Can't say I've missed you!
 
 
As weather-related notes:
We saw a garter snake during a walk to the cemetery on March 15th this year!

The first thunderstorm of the year was on March 20th.

We noticed the lilac bushes beginning to bud out on March 21st.

And today, March 23rd, I watched a ginormous leopard frog hop across our lawn.

I could handle a winter/spring like this every single year!
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Even my rhubarb is coming up. In MARCH!